source: | 2000 Games, Devotions, Themes, Ideas and more for Youth Work
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Terrain game – cathedral building

An entry by Gregor I., who developed this game alongside a team of altar boys in a leader session and carried it out with great success. Many thanks for the contribution.


We find ourselves in the middle ages, to be more precise, we find ourselves in Northern Italy. There has been a heavy earthquake in Assisi and elsewhere and many towns have been destroyed. An emergency situation is called because every town does not have enough supplies. The churches and monasteries were hit the worst because large parts have been completely destroyed. You (the groups) are the monks who have experienced such a bad stroke of fate. However it is your chance to become famous by building the new church/cathedral.

Aim of the game:

To buy materials to build a new cathedral. The building materials are made up of shoe boxes, cardboard, glue and water colours…etc.

Game length:

Approx. 2.5 – 3.5 hours.

Playing field:

A wood / green 1000-1500m² so that the town masters can sit slightly hidden away. This is also possible in a large house with lots of rooms.

Number of players:

35-50 children 9-15 years old. Leaders: 10 persons + 6 group leaders if required (depending on the age of the group).


6 towns (e.g.: Chiusi, Foligno, Assisi, Fabriano, Perugia, Arezzo), all who want different types of goods / or offer different goods.


Wool, clothing, bread, paints, jewellery and candles. The town masters can sell their goods as they like, which can strengthen the trade between groups, because the groups can buy goods more than once. Only one purchase is possible per town visit! All of the goods are available 3 times from each trader.

Option: The traders only sell one item per time zone.

  • Town master 1: needs wool
    Offers clothing, bread and candles

  • Town master 2: needs bread
    Offers jewellery, paint and clothing

  • Town master 3: needs jewellery
    Offers clothing, paint and wool

  • Town master 4: needs paint
    Offers wool, candles and jewellery

  • Town master 5: needs clothing
    Offers candles, wool and bread

  • Town master 6: needs candles
    Offers paint, bread and jewellery

Which town master needs which clothing can only be found out by solving the riddles. The answer to the riddle should not be the item itself but a sort of “password”. Supplies can be found out (with the password) by asking the jugglers. Apart from this the town masters do not give any information about their offers and keep changing their prices (see time zone list below).

Jugglers and thieves

1-2 jugglers/ 1 thief – keep changing their roles (they wear little paper signs as an „ID pass“), There is always only 1 thief and only 1-2 jugglers at one time; they only reveal their identity if a group asks and the move freely around the terrain.

  • Jugglers

    • Gives the groups tips (e.g.: Where the goods are on offer the cheapest at the moment? Or: which goods are needed in Assisi?)

    • Each tip costs 10 coins, max. 2 tips per meeting

    • Gives the groups the solutions to the riddles (possibly cheaper or free).

  • Thieves

    • Play paper, scissors, and stone 3 times. If the thief wins: Goods (or money) is stolen. If the thief loses: Group escapes.

    • Thieves must give up as soon as the first group is finished.

  • 1 Money lenders

    • A fixed, central location
    • Opens 35 minutes after the game has started.
    • Money lending is only possible every 20 minutes.
    • Small tasks such as pictionary for 3-5minutes. Time: 20 coins per correct catchphrase

Running the game:

The groups runs from town to town to find out what they town needs, to buy goods, to deliver goods to get some building materials. They can get more money on their travels from the money lender or they can deal with other groups. Once they have all of the building materials the building can start. (You should make sure that all groups are able to purchase the same materials and have a minimum amount of time (30 minutes) for building. If the group meets a juggler they can receive information and if they meet a thief they can win or lose money. At the end the cathedrals are presented to the whole group and judged.

Time zones for the prices of goods

Minutes from the start of the game Town master
1 + 4
Town master
2 + 5
Town master
3 + 6
0:00 – 0:10 25T 25T 25T
0:10 – 0:35 10T 25T 50T
0:35 – 0:50 50T 40T 30T
0:50 – 1:20 70T 20T 25T
1:20 – 1:45 30T 55T 10T
1:45 – 2:10 45T 15T 35T
2:10 – 2:30 25T 25T 25T

Possible words for pictionary

Tiger, bible, elephant, book shelf, incense, sheep, flower carpet, washing machine, toothpaste, tool box, song, bird, lamp, street sign, McDonalds, alarm clock, cartridge, clown, cutter, apple juice, lawn mower, Easter, maths lesson, tern, speed camera, sunburn, advents calendar, school yard, lent, grandparents, collection/offertory bag, fish soup, ice-cream parlour, Minnie Mouse, drain cover, snow white, plum cake.


  • Playing money
  • 9 notes per type of goods
  • Different types of goods: Bread, candles, clothes, wool, jewellery and paint
  • Cardboard
  • Shoe boxes
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Sticky tape, glue…etc.
  • „ID cards“ for jugglers and thieves

Spread out the materials required to build the cathedral so that each town master has approx. one type of material but the same amount for all groups, e.g.: 5 cardboard arches for each group.

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